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June 20, 2003

Steppenwolf Theatre Company announces David Hawkanson as new Executive Director

The Steppenwolf Theatre Company Board of Directors today announces avid Hawkanson as Steppenwolf's new Executive Director. Hawkanson is expected to begin at Steppenwolf in August, 2003. He is replacing Michael Genarro, who left Steppenwolf to assume the position of President and CEO of Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey.

"We are honored to have David Hawkanson join our Steppenwolf family. He is a recognized leader in theater. His theater savvy, keen business judgment, and, most notably, his genuine passion for the art, is a great fit for Steppenwolf," says Steppenwolf Board Chairman John Fox. "We are confident that David's vast experience in American theater will heighten our successes and enable the board, staff, and ensemble to maintain and elevate our standards of excellence."

"Steppenwolf is extremely fortunate to have gained an Executive Director of David's experience, acumen and dedication," adds Artistic Director Martha Lavey. "Having worked with David over the past several months in his capacity as a consultant to Steppenwolf, I am very much looking forward to partnering with him in stewarding the next phase of our theater's life. His career is marked by his passion for the art and we welcome David to his new artistic home."

"I have long admired Steppenwolf Theatre Company and its ensemble," says David Hawkanson. "Having worked as a consultant for the theater for the last 10 months has only increased my admiration for both the theater, its work on stage and in the community and, most importantly, its artistic leader, Martha Lavey. I am truly honored by this appointment and look forward to being a part of Chicago's vibrant theater community."

David Hawkanson, whose professional career spans over 30 years, began his association with Steppenwolf as a consultant in long range planning in September of 2002. Previously, he served as Managing Director of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis with Artistic Director Joe Dowling. During his six-year tenure at Guthrie, the company adopted an ambitious long range and business plan, which included plans for a new $125 million theater complex. The Guthrie saw growth in the areas of operating expenditures ($10.5 million to $19 million), the production schedule (7 to 12 productions annually), the subscriber base (from 16,000 to 31,000), and the endowment fund, which doubled through diversification of investments. During that time, the theater also inaugurated new programming, including a second subscription season of productions in its lab facility, presentation of international companies and regional touring of Mainstage productions.

Prior to working at Guthrie Theater, Hawkanson was Managing Director at Hartford Stage Company for eight years, during which time he, along with Artistic Director Mark Lamos, accepted Hartford Stage's special Tony Award for Outstanding Achievement in Regional Theater. Also at Hartford Stage, he supervised numerous commercial Off-Broadway and Broadway transfers. He has also held the position of Managing Director of the Arizona Theater Company and managerial positions with the American Conservatory Theater and the Guthrie Theater.

Since leaving the Guthrie, he has resided in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he has maintained a management consulting practice with clients in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Oregon, Minnesota, and New Mexico. His clients in Chicago are Steppenwolf and the Court Theater. He has been an artistic advisor to the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, a program committee member for the National Arts Stabilization Fund, and a panelist and advisor to both the Ford Foundation's Working Capital Fund and the Minneapolis Foundation's Working Capital Reserve Fund as well as an arts panelist and advisor for many major national foundations and federal and state arts agencies.

Other affiliations have included an officer and Board Member of Alliance for Arts Advocates, Theater Trustees of America, Theatre Communications Group, Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, New York Stage and Film, and the American Arts Alliance. He was a former senior staff member at the National Endowment for the Arts and is a former Chairman and panelist for the theater program at the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a graduate of Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Committed to the principle of ensemble performance through the collaboration of a company of actors, directors and designers, Steppenwolf Theatre Company's mission is to advance the vitality and diversity of American theater by nurturing artists, encouraging repeatable creative relationships, and contributing new works to the national canon. The company, formed in 1976 by a collective of actors, is dedicated to perpetuating an ethic of mutual respect and the development of artists through on-going group work. Steppenwolf has grown into an internationally renowned company of thirty-five artists whose talents include acting, directing, playwriting, filmmaking and textual adaptation.

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